Let Go of the Small Stuff
Five years ago this week my dad passed away. It’s a rare hour when I don’t think of him. He owned a bit of celebrity in this town because he took care of so many Gaston County children and I’m stopped by those folks or their parents every week who recount for me the care he provided. I spent those last several weeks with him in the coronary care unit at Duke University Medical Center where we waited for him to receive a somewhat new procedure that may have allowed us a few more years with him.
The night before he and I watched the NCAA BCS National Championship game between Florida State and Auburn. He was stunned and thrilled by the complete game both teams played. It was an amazing game up to end. The next morning, I went to get some breakfast at the hospital’s cafeteria and came back to mention how the employees at Duke would all end up in the coronary unit and how our own hospital in Gastonia ran a cafeteria where healthy options were provided and priced lower than the unhealthy ones. I was more than animate about how Caromont was way ahead of Duke on this. The attendants and nurses came in to wheel him out of the room for some more tests and he said to me as he was leaving, “Are you going to do anything about it?” I said, “Probably not.” That’s when he said to me, “Then let go of the small stuff.” Those were his last words to me. Lord knows I would have enjoyed an entirely different last conversation with my father if I had known it would be my last. Yet, that’s the one we had and the one that stays with me now.
So, to take his words a little out of context and to apply it to your business, let go of the small stuff. That’s not to say that small details do not matter because they do in nearly every business model. But are you the one to deal with them? You are the entrepreneur of this thing. Everything about your business took every fiber of you to build it. Yet here you are now with this cash generating cow in your lap and instead of doing the most valuable work you do the least valuable.
Weekly it seems, I meet business owners running the operation instead of growing it. I see business owners who take out the trash and mop the floor instead of following up with new potential clients. I see business owners who run the cash register rather than heaping love on their most valuable customers. I see business owners turning wrenches instead of providing training for staff. There’s a part of me that wants to scream. Your business cannot grow without a team and you must allow them to do the routine stuff so that you can do the entrepreneurial stuff; growing the business, planning the business and executing the plans.
You have a team. Once you’ve done the small stuff and systemized it so that others can do it, let them, trust them. Follow up and verify as part of the systemization. Get them to report back to you. Automate things. Make it so this business could run for months without you even being there. I have a current client, who after 15 years in business, developed her “Bus Book.” She told her team, “This is how you run this business if I get hit by a bus.” Every single detail of operating the business is in there. She now spends her time visiting potential new clients. It’s a beautiful thing to see.
Take Action today to Let Go of the Small Stuff and then go Run a Lap. Business is Fun! Thanks Dad.
Tony Marder is a Gastonia resident and President of ASM Ventures Corporation. His clients are family businesses and their teams who need to develop and implement new strategies to make more profit. You can reach him for questions or comments at www.enjoyingyourbusiness.com.